There are a number of lawsuits which are related to 3 D technology. The main characteristics facing such lawsuits is a foggy legal framework on how to respond to them. This is isn’t something you regularly see discussed in 3d printer reviews, but should be a factor in deciding whether to buy from a particular company or not. The following are notable cases facing 3 D technology.
Form Labs vs 3D Systems
3D systems were the first company to do the commercial production of 3D printers. Its founders are also credited with creating 3D printing. A while back, a company on Kickstarter managed to raise enough capital to start their own company. However, 3D systems felt that Form labs had infringed on their SLA technology. The lawsuit went on for some time, during which Form labs continued to produce its machines. The case was eventually dismissed with prejudice, which means it cannot come before the courts again. Other companies have hopped on the bandwagon and are now using SLA as well.
MemJet vs HP
MemJet based in San Diego has recently taken HP to court over a claim of copyright infringement. The company claims that HP has stolen a unique 2D printing technology it developed and used it in its latest 3D printer. HP has recently entered 3D printing but is already facing some tough legal battles. MemJet’s main objective is to stop HP from using the technology and to get legal damages. HP, which would become the biggest player in 3D printing, will definitely slug it out with MemJet. This entire case will probably end in a settlement and HP will proceed to produce its printers.
Tiertime vs UCRobotics
Beijing Tiertime Technology Co., Ltd is a multinational company based in Beijing, China. It is engaged in the manufacture of industrial grade 3D equipment. The company claims that UCRobotics has infringed on its patent rights with the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. The company is seeking to have UCRobotics barred from ever producing the MakerBot with its current designs. The case has yet to be decided on and is still in the courts.
Expect lawsuits to increase
The patent lawsuits in the 3D printing industry are still very few. However, over the next few years, they could explode as business interests in 3D printing begin to grow.